The SR-71 Blackbird

The USAF SR-71 Blackbird Program

The SR-71 Blackbird has a long and distinguished career during it's operations for the USAF. 


In December 1962, the Air Force ordered six “reconnaissance/strike” aircraft for high-speed, high-altitude flights over hostile territory after a nuclear attack—hence its original designator RS. Compared to the A-12, the SR-71 was about six feet longer, weighed 15,000 pounds more fully loaded, had more prominent nose and body chines and a two-seat cockpit, and carried additional optical and radar imagery systems and ELINT sensors in interchangeable noses.

5 Apr 1982

Mildenhall, England Det 4 Operations

Mildenhall, England Det 4 Operations

Author: SR Admin  /  Categories: USAF Operations  /  Rate this article:

SR-71 Reconnaissance Operations at RAF Mildenhall were from April 1976 to 1990. Prior to Det 4 being established, UK permission was required for each sortie flown. The SR's stay was to be no longer than 20 days for each visit.

On 05 April of 1982 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced that Det 4 would be a permanent SR-71 Detachment with two aircraft assigned. The United Kingdom remained in control of the more sensitive missions. The two aircraft Detachment ceased operations on 22 November 1989. The last aircraft departed the UK on 18 January 1990.

The U.S. Government has given the United Kingdom an SR-71 #962 for public display at Duxford Imperial War Museum for it's contribution to ending the Cold War.


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